iStock_000002384919LargeBy Chris Newton, Workforce Development Coordinator for Cajun Industries, LLC The Associated Builders and Contractors’ (ABC) Pelican Chapter in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Bayou Chapter in New Orleans are home to some of the largest training centers along the Gulf Coast. Part of what makes these chapters successful is that they have Manpower and Education committees to review and suggest training to be delivered. At the helm of these committees are four unique men, which I am fortunate to be part of:
  • Chris Melancon (U.S. Marines) of Primoris Services serves as chair of ABC Pelican Chapter
  • Chris Newton (retired U.S. Navy) of Cajun Industries serves as vice chair of ABC Pelican Chapter
  • Steve Bomar (retired U.S. Navy) of Performance Contractors is incoming vice chair of ABC Pelican Chapter
  • David Theriot (U.S. Army) of Performance Contractors serves as vice chair of ABC Bayou Chapter
While it is “business as usual” for us, there’s one thing that sets our committee leadership apart: We are all veterans who have found careers in construction. We are also avid statesmen who work closely with Build Your Future’s Hard Hat Heroes military program and NCCER to provide entry points, assessments and careers for our fellow veterans. "We know what it is like to transition from serving our nation to civilian life, and we know the opportunities that are available in our industry,” said Chris Melancon, a Marine infantryman and current chair of ABC Pelican Chapter. “We can match up military skills that immediately translate to construction careers. Better yet, we know that every veteran is trainable and possesses the qualities our industry is looking for in craft professionals and leaders.” At the 2015 ABC Workforce Development Conference, NCCER hosted a session about hiring and training veterans, and how companies that are employing veterans are seeing a high return on investment.  The companies and organizations represented below have partnered with Build Your Future’s Hard Hat Heroes program and demonstrate a strong commitment to support our military service members by giving them hiring preference as they transition into construction careers. Bechtel Brock Cajun Industries Consolidated Electric Crossland Construction Fluor ISC Jacobs KBR L.P.R. Construction Co. Marek Brothers Overland Contracting PALA Performance Contractors, Inc. S&B Sundt TIC Turner Industries Worth and Company, Inc. Zachry Associated Builders & Contractors, Inc. AGC of America Florida Masonry Apprentice & Education Foundation Louisiana Community and Technical College System NEF Pearson For more information on Hard Hat Heroes, visit

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NCCER develops standardized construction and maintenance curricula and assessments with portable credentials. These credentials are tracked through NCCER’s National Registry which allows organizations and companies to track the qualifications of their craft professionals and/or check the qualifications of possible new hires. The National Registry also assists craft professionals by maintaining their records in a secure database.